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Minneapolis attorney Chris Messerly, a spokesman for a consortium of law firms representing victims for free, said the bridge collapse is different from other tragedies because it involves the state and because of its scale.
The state may help the victims -- and citizens -- heal faster, he said.
"Is there any single greater man-made disaster that's happened in the history of Minnesota that has so riveted everyone in our state, in our nation and even the world, than this? I don't think there is," he said.
Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park, co-chair of the subcommittee, said he was struggling with setting broad public policy.
"Can the people of Minnesota say to the family of Dru Sjodin that her life is worth less than the life of someone who died in the bridge collapse?" he said after the hearing.
The subcommittee hopes to have a recommendation by the end of the year.
Pam Louwagie 612-673-7102
More: MnDOT fired the emergency response executive who failed to return to the state for 10 days after the collapse. A1
Online: For more bridge coverage, go to startribune.com/bridge.
Pam Louwagie email@example.com